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Chapter 4 - Federal Regulation of Decommissioning Economics

As we move deeply into the new territory of large-scale decommissioning, countries around the world are looking to the United States for guidance and experience in establishing their own approaches. In the U.S., the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is the lead agency responsible for public health and safety issues linked to commercial nuclear power. This responsibility includes assuring adequate funds for decommissioning. In this chapter, Robert Wood introduces us to the regulations and positions of the NRC regarding decommissioning financing. The issues include why the NRC chose external funding mechanisms, how the funds should be collected and invested, the relationship between the NRC and state agencies, and fund assurance in a variety of cases including possible accident and bankruptcy. While this discussion will serve as an overview of the most significant aspects of decommissioning financing, it also introduces us to other chapters which focus on the relationships of the NRC with the states and electric utility companies.

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Energy Specializations: Nuclear Power – Markets and Prices; Nuclear Power – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Nuclear decommissioning economics, US NRC, Regulation, Financing

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol12-NoSI-4

Published in Volume 12, Special Issue of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.